Thursday, September 7, 2017
In Lebanon, not only is the economy left in turmoil by the 1.5 million Syrian refugees, but so is the education system. But so many of the Syrian refugee children drop out of school to work to support their families, and many of them have not been enrolled in school at all.
If you have been following my blog, you may recall that I have been painting the refugee children as part of my effort called "The Innocents Project." This is my 17th painting in the series, which I'm hoping will raise awareness of the innocent children who are caught in the middle of a turbulent situation. (More on that in the weeks to come!)
I am also working to promote the good work of a Washington, DC headquartered organization called ANERA, American Near East Refugee Aid, a non-political, non-profit group of devoted people in the US and in the Middle East who are committed to restoring dignity to those who live in sub-human conditions. ANERA provides early childhood education to those like this beautiful young girl, incorporating expressive arts as part of their curriculum. For older students, they provide non-formal and flexible education to teens so that they can try to go to school and help support their families. It is often difficult and unaffordable for the children to get transportation to schools outside of their camps, so ANERA is working to educate them in or near their camps.
ANERA seems to cover whatever is needed for the refugee families, renovating schools, improving water systems, distributing medical supplies and relief materials, including shoes and boots for children who otherwise would be barefoot. I cannot say enough about the work they do, which is so much more than I have described here. Check their stats and you will see. Please consider donating to ANERA or at the very least, check out their website to learn about this crucial situation. www.anera.org.
Thank you so much for your consideration.
"869 Education is Key"
acrylic - 12x12 in
Thursday, August 31, 2017
acrylic - 6x6 in
Friday, August 25, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Charlie, the Best Dog looked quite dapper in his tuxedo.
You may remember that I have painted Charlie numerous times. He is the perfect subject!
Congratulations, Will and Kate, #pairofkings.
Monday, August 14, 2017
I really enjoyed mixing all these greys and I'm happy with this painting after a couple of bombs. It will be on its way to The Leigh Gallery in Chicago very soon.
Saturday, August 5, 2017
This post should be called "When Life Gets in the Way." For the last several weeks, I have been absent on the painting and posting scene because of a commitment to my garden club. Now that most of the dust has settled, I am eager to get back to painting more regularly. There are so many paintings in my head just waiting to be put to canvas.
"864 Family Farm"
acrylic - 9x12 in
In case you'd like to know about our big "event," read on. For the last 15 months, The Whitefish Bay Garden Club has been planning our inaugural garden tour of 10 private gardens and 4 public gardens in our little village. But not just any garden tour--a tour of gardens with quilts made by local quilters, "Quilts in the Garden." Oh. My. Our little idea grew and grew and our 10 private gardens were staged with 90 beautiful quilts. It was spectacular. We had no idea how many tickets to print, so we initially printed 250. The number of pre-orders kept growing, and more tickets were printed. We never expected, nor were we prepared to sell 900 tickets. But it was a beautiful day and people came and truly enjoyed the quilts and the gardens. Here are a few photos. Enjoy!
Monday, June 26, 2017
Most artists I know paint with emotion while trying to capture with paint and canvas a feeling they had about a certain subject. I am most relaxed and connected to Mother Nature when I am amidst the trees in any given area, woods or neighborhood. A recent visit to Mackinac Island brought us to that place for me during our horse drawn carriage ride through most of the island. This tree caught my eye and I was lucky to get a photograph or two on the move.
I made this painting with a very limited palette. No green or brown paint, just three blues, three yellows, two reds, a white and a tiny bit of black to mix that olive green on the left.
Friday, June 23, 2017
The Sunset Trail in the Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek Door County provides endless inspiration. I can't even guess at how many photos of trees I have taken there.
"862 Sunset Trail, November"
acrylic - 14x11 in
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
This is my 15th painting of a refugee child for my personal effort, The Innocents Project. Please consider making a donation to ANERA to support their efforts on behalf of refugee families and please mention The Innocents Project.
"861 Thirsty for a Better Life"
acrylic - 12x12 in
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Door County has the most breathtaking views of sunsets over Green Bay. There is a popular restaurant in Sister Bay Door County, Wisconsin called Fred & Fuzzy's where you can sit outside and
enjoy the beautiful sunsets along with good food and a beautiful atmosphere.
What I have discovered is that when the sun is setting in the west, sometimes the view is even more beautiful if you look to the EAST. That is the view you are seeing here. I thought it was spectacular!
I wasn't sure the actual intensity of the colors would be believable, so I modified them a little, so imagine the tree trunks even more vibrant than they are here! Mother Nature has an amazing color palette!
"860 Looking East: 6:37 p.m. at Fred & Fuzzy's"
acrylic - 16x20 in
Sunday, May 28, 2017
This portrait of Patton was commissioned by friends of two fire fighters who loved this dog so much, and initially had hoped Patton would be ferocious. Instead, Patton was a sweetheart who was a friendly, gentle soul who loved to ride on their boat. I am pleased to say that these folks named their dog, Patton, and Patton was female.
acrylic - 8x10 in
Friday, May 19, 2017
I bet you are wondering how the title relates to this painting. The painting is of a small section of a very long (I would guess 8') mid-century Italian ice cream parlor bench--the kind where 10 people can comfortably sit back to back in the little niches. This beautiful piece was retrieved from Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is quite impressive with it's yellow circular tabletops strategically placed. I really enjoyed zooming in and finding just the right section to paint, and I loved how the reflections of the lights and other objects in the room bounced off the slats. I think the painting has an op art feel to it, yes?
You've probably guessed that I love old and unusual artifacts, and painting them has been quite interesting and challenging for me. The piles of old doorknobs, antique monastery keys, French wine jugs, Czech Republic juggling pins, Italian mid-century wood carvings, a weathered door, statues and this bench have all interested me in some way, compelling me to paint. Mostly it's the texture that sings to me---rust and chipped paint, and the concept of preserving the old, knowing where the item came from, in a wabi-sabi sort of way. Here is Wikipedia's short description of Wabi-sabi.
"Wabi-sabi is a concept in traditional Japanese aesthetics constituting a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete."
"858 Ice Cream Social"
Saturday, May 6, 2017
I hope if your travels take you to Door County, you will stop in at the gallery and say hello. It's a beautiful place with magnificent sculpture gardens, and of course great art inside too! Please mention you are a friend of mine and snap a photo of my paintings on the wall. It's always so much fun for me to receive emails/texts from friends who are visiting the gallery. You can see my work and all the others at www.edgewoodorchard.com
"857 Hob Nobbing in Door County"
acrylic - 43x33 in
Thursday, April 27, 2017
This painting is my fifteenth portrait of refugee children in Lebanon and Palestine as part of my effort called The Innocents Project. I started this project to put faces to those we call "refugees," children who are deserving of all the things we hope to provide to our children, but who cannot receive because of situations beyond their control. I am hoping not only to raise awareness of these children, but to raise money for ANERA.
The report from the ANERA program manager in Lebanon, Dima Zayat is grimly called, "Refugees Are Losing Hope." Dima tells a story about a Palestinian refugee from Syria who fled to Lebanon, which makes him twice exiled. He has five children, and he and his family left everything--their house, garden, school for the children, and his small grocery store in Syria to flee to safety in Lebanon. The shed they now call home is dilapidated, and the kids have dirty clothes and matted hair.
Dima reports that the refugees are losing hope. Many of them hoped to resettle to the United States to live normal lives again. But that won't happen. Instead they, along with 1.5 Million registered refugees from Syria (who knows how many are not yet registered?) are currently living in Lebanon where the camps are overpopulated, often unsafe, and barely provide the minimum of what they need. Reliable water and electricity don't exist. Over half of the children do not go to school because they have to work.
ANERA does what they can with the 94% of their revenue spent on programs in Lebanon and Palestine. They seem to be the only hope in providing dignity and distraction from the dire situation. One of ANERA's programs is called Sports for Peace and Development. We all know the benefits of sports to children, and the refugees are no exception. The program is encouraging involvement in soccer, basketball, swimming and yoga for both boys and girls and ANERA is working on getting shoes for the children, who play in socks or bare feet, as well as sports jerseys, which really mean a lot to the children.
I sincerely hope you will go to their website and read about this fine non-partisan organization. You can read the newsletter or just this article yourself by going to their website, www.anera.org. By way of the magnifying glass, enter ANERA News, Spring 2017. I guarantee you will be impressed and I hope you will be motivated to make a donation to ANERA. Large or small, any amount is greatly appreciated.
acrylic - 12x12 in
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
In winter, you can snowmobile on certain paths, but we are not daring enough for this activity.
"855 Around the Bend, Sunset Trail, Peninsula State Park"
acrylic - 6x8 in
Monday, April 24, 2017
"854 Sunset Trail, Peninsula State Park"
acrylic - 6x8 in
Sunday, April 23, 2017
The path is 10 miles for the long version or 3 miles for the short one. When our children were young, it was our tradition to ride bikes for the long trail. There is a spot where a sign urges "Parents, Watch Your Children" at a steep incline, and our kids would always defiantly speed up and ride hands free. One recent visit, my husband and I took each other's pictures near the sign pretending to be frightened. Those 10 miles seem much longer now that we are older, and certainly not as much fun without the "kids."
"853 White Cedar Forest, Sunset Trail, Peninsula State Park"
acrylic - 6x8 in
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
The owl family is moving around a little more now that Baby is somewhat comfortable with leaving "home," mostly because of parental or predator pressure. He/she prefers to stay close to the trunk of familiar trees, and seems to be more comfortable with keeping Mom or Dad right next to her/him. Having these creatures near has been a great way to observe nature in all its glory and to encourage neighborly friendliness, and everyone seems to enjoy sharing their experiences and observations.
Thanks again to my neighbors, Steve and Ann Gardiner, for generously sharing their photos with me, along with permission to paint from them.
I have been keeping busy experimenting with abstracts and different media. Trust me, it is SO much more difficult than it looks. To me, a good abstract painting is not just slapping paint on a canvas and calling it an abstract, rather, it has all the elements of a good painting, and it has been a very slow process, but I am really enjoying it. My #1 critic has given his approval, so I feel I am on the right track, although he doesn't quite understand why I wouldn't want to stick with "my day job." ho hum.
acrylic - 8x10 in
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Once again this year, we are fortunate enough to have a Great Horned Owl family in our neighborhood. We don't know if these are the same owls as those who graced us in two previous years but we are addicted to observing them in this fairly urban setting.
There is only one owlet this year, hatched earlier than in previous years, we Owl Ladies speculate because of the mild winter. As an "only child" we have observed that this owlet is larger than expected, and more "pampered." We have watched him/her stubbornly refuse to fledge, even when tempted with a plump, tasty rabbit dinner.
Today, the owl family was driven from their pine tree by a "murder" of crows. I'm not making that up, that's what a group of crows is called!
Thanks to my neighbor, Steve Gardiner, for the photo reference for this painting. He has a camera that can capture the owls in all their glory and is very generous in sharing his photos with all of the Owl Addicts.
"851 Under Her Wing"
acrylic - 20x16 in
Saturday, April 1, 2017
"850 The Perfect Pair"
acrylic - 8x6 in
Monday, March 27, 2017
Hossam's portrait is part of my "Innocents Project." ANERA, American Near East Refugee Assistance, a non-political organization in Washington D.C. helps families like Hossam's by providing shelter, food, clothing, safe water, distribution of donated Tom's shoes, medical supplies, and much, much more. Please consider making a donation to ANERA.org in honor of someone special, or just because.
P.S. Perhaps you have noticed that just about every child in my portraits has dark circles under their eyes. I do not exaggerate the circles, but feel like I must include them. The children often sleep on cement flooring with a blanket cushion in one "room" of the refugee camp containing their entire family. No wonder.
"849 Hospitality and Kindness"
acrylic - 12x12 in
Sunday, March 19, 2017
"849 Feeling Jubilant in Door County"
acrylic - 8x6 in
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Monday, March 13, 2017
Followup articles will be in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in the next few days.
acrylic - 8x6 in
Monday, March 6, 2017
"847 ...With a Cherry on Top"
acrylic - 6x8 in
Monday, February 13, 2017
Happy Valentine's Day to all of you.
"Love is a Many Splendored Thing"
oil - 12x9 in
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Her name is Safaa. I don't always know the child's name when I paint the refugees ANERA serves, and the more information I have about each child, the more intimate the painting experience. I don't know anything about her, other than she is probably Palestinian or Syrian living in Lebanon, Palestine or Jordan, so I just imagine what her life is like, and what it could be when I am painting her. She probably lives in a makeshift refugee camp where heat is nonexistent. If she is lucky, ANERA provides her with a preschool to attend, and warm boots provided by Toms, and emergency lights. Hopefully she has the medical supplies she needs and clean water, all provided by ANERA.
ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) is a non-political non-profit headquartered in Washington, D.C. They are committed to providing not only aid to families in the Middle East, but to giving them as much dignity as possible. These ANERA folks are angels too.
If you are so moved, please consider making a donation to ANERA at www.anera.org.
"844 Will You Be My Valentine?"
acrylic - 12x12 in
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
My online class is over and I really enjoyed it. I still have much to learn. I will continue to study and will take the lessons with me as I further develop my style and identity as an artist.
Working with oil paints is a much slower process and much more difficult than working with acrylics, in my opinion. I thought I had a lot of patience, but working with oil showed me that I need more.
"843 Grace and Beauty"
oil - 16x20 in
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
"842 Miranda, Sweet Sixteen"
oil - 14x11 in
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
This adorable little girl is a student at one of the 165 preschools that ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) has rebuilt/refurbished in the West Bank and Gaza. ANERA has introduced new creative ways for 600 teachers to teach 30,000 children who attend schools in Palestine. The new framework developed by ANERA, the Ministry of Education and others nationally and internationally concerned about education involves a creative approach to learning, just as we would see in most American preschools. Instead of passively playing music in the background, children and teachers play a variety of instruments, incorporating dance, drama and art. Play time is very important part of development for children in this age group, and so many social skills revolve around playtime. At first the children didn't know what to do with the various games that were provided to them, therefore they mixed up all the playing pieces. With time and effort, they learned to keep the games together and how to enjoy them. We take things like this for granted. These children live in horrific living conditions, but I am grateful to ANERA for providing them with education in a happy setting.
"ANERA’s ECD program is built on a comprehensive and holistic vision to provide the best learning environment for children in safe and colorful settings with child-appropriate learning materials and furnishings, sanitary facilities and playgrounds."
You can read more about the wonderful work that ANERA does for refugees in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan here: www.anera.org They also have Facebook and Instagram pages.
"840 Feisty and Sweet"
acrylic - 12x12 in
Thursday, January 12, 2017
I am enjoying my online Flower Portrait class and here is my first full painting. There may be some tweaking to do, but I enjoyed the very slow process of it. The artist who is teaching the course strongly believes in The Law of Attraction and he applies the concept to our painting. It makes all the sense in the world to me.
"840 The Law of Atrtaction"
oil - 12x16 in
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
With the new online course I am taking, I am making several adjustments--medium (from acrylic to oil), a new palette of paint colors, and a new technique. There is always so much to learn in the process of identifying and perfecting one's "craft."
I spent a lot of time today and yesterday mixing colors and practicing the floral portrait. Yellow is my nemesis color so I painted one of the yellow roses and a red rose for the first assignment. I will try to find white roses or another multi petaled flower to paint for upcoming assignments. I am enjoying this learning process after one of those "uh oh, what have I done?" moments yesterday.
oil - 8x6 in
oil - 8x6 in
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
I received this amaryllis bulb at my Garden Club holiday gift exchange. I was delighted to receive this bulb because of its unique growing technique---no dirt, no water, just put it somewhere where it will receive light. Apparently, this is a new variety of amaryllis, and what could be easier? It has produced four beautiful flowers on one stem and every day is a new visual experience. There is another stem which changes each day but it is now at the exact height of the blooms, so it will be interesting to see what happens next.
I set out to paint the beautiful blooms, but didn't want to tackle the bulb, and I didn't think just the stems and flowers would be interesting, so I propped it up first behind this black and white vase, thinking I could paint it seemingly IN the vase, but that didn't please me. I took a risk with the vase in the background, and despite input from my best critic, I like it. One of my goals for the new year is to be more of a risk-taker and to not labor over my painting, which will definitely be a challenge.
I am REALLY stretching myself by taking another online class on painting "The Floral Portrait." After spending several hours over two days reading materials and watching several videos just in preparation for the first class, I have that sinking feeling of "Oh, what have I done?" I will be painting with water soluble oil paints, which I am far from competent at, but in line with the above-mentioned goal, I know I will learn a lot. I will keep you posted.
"838 Bloom Where You Are Planted"
acrylic - 12x9 in